stuff, written by me

Monthly Archives: February 2014

It’s the day before the day before it all begins.

I landed on Monday Feb 3 (yesterday) and spent the day embroiled in various tasks that were made slightly more challenging by the six (or in some cases, nine) hour time difference between me and the people in Toronto and L.A. that I was corresponding with. Luckily, the work was urgent enough and engaging enough to keep me awake until almost midnight, so that I got a good night’s sleep, woke up at 8, and almost feel as though I’m not jet lagged at all. We’ll see how long that lasts.

The festival and market begin on Thursday Feb 6, so I have plenty of time to catch up on work and adjust to the time difference at a leisurely pace from our Berlin Air BnB pad. Flying in the night before and feeling totally out of it for two days would have been the cheaper way to do it, but I would be very miserable. Flying in early is not a luxury that  everyone can afford (time wise and money wise) but for very busy, high-stress work trips, I hiiiiiiiiiiighly recommend it if you’re going more than three time zones away (especially if you’re travelling west-to-east, because the jet lag is, for some reason, worse). For me, I’m pretty sure it makes the difference between a killer opening weekend and a “I think I’m getting sick” opening weekend.

I found the place on Air BnB after weeks of hunting (I compared a lot of places and a lot of prices). Since we’re bunking with our pal Tim (Reis, producer/DoP/editor of The Demon’s Rook), I was looking for a two bedroom. I found this insane place for only about 40 euros more per night than what we were paying last year for a bedroom in a 5-bedroom shared rooming house type apartment, where we had kitchen access, but not a lot of privacy or space. I recorded a 2min 45sec tour of the place:

As most of you who’ve been following my bloggy bloggy activity know, I’m here for the European Film Market, more so than the actual Berlinale (aka, the Film Festival), though this year there are a lot of films playing the fest that I’d love to see. There are festival passes, and market passes, and a double pass that gives you access to both. Unfortunately, I only got the market pass this year, because last year I paid for the double and ended up going to zero official festival screenings, so it seemed like a bit of a waste of an extra hundred euros (that’s like, a thousand bucks in Canadian – ok, not really, but it’s almost double). So, I may not get to see the new Wes Anderson, but y’know what? I’m not here for that anyway, so whatever. Suck it up, woman!

The point is, I’m here, I’m taking lots of vitamin C for my immune system and probiotics for my travel-belly, and coffee for my jet lag, and I’ll hopefully be writing posts about my experiences daily, or close-to-daily (gimme a break, sometimes the schedule here goes for 12+ hours with no pauses, or at least no pauses near a laptop with wifi).

If you want a primer on Berlin and the EFM, check my 2013 diary, which I wrote for the now sadly defunct Substream:

I might want to reread those myself, actually, just to make sure I don’t repeat all the exact same EFM tips. And if you’re interested in my other festival and film market diaries, just click the Festival Diaries tag on this site and you can read all about my experiences at Cannes, TIFF and Fantasia.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here consulting the whopping 47 page EFM screening list and trying to cobble together a schedule for myself that nicely balances movies, meetings, social events and networking/schmoozing events. Let’s face it, there is a big difference. Going to the Fantasia karaoke party is social, because I know (and love) everyone who will be there and I will probably spend my time catching up with them about their actual lives and not talking up my projects. On the other hand, going to the Telefilm reception, while it might be fun (and the bar definitely will be open), is a wee bit more of a “networking occasion”.

Anyway, back to work.


I’ve talked and written a lot about my love of this far-too-little-known but gob-smackingly smart, funny and unique film by brilliant Winnipegger John Paizs. Crime Wave  is really terrific and hard to find because it’s never been out on DVD, so you have to either look for it on VHS, on torrent sites, or at your local rep theatre where it occasionally pops up for screenings, usually using the director’s own print.

My most succinct article about the film is probably this one, which I wrote for Toronto Film Scene. It really encapsulates how I feel about the film. And (I hope at least), some of what makes it important. So, y’know, go read that first, then continue on to the next paragraph. And watch the film. For god’s sake, find a way to watch the film.

Crime Wave 1

he was a quiet man …

The reason I’m writing about Crime Wave again is just that I wanted to let you (the world) know that a book has just been released about the film (using a few more words than I can in a tweet or FB status update). University of Toronto Press has released this awesomeness by Jonathan Bell, which can be bought from them or even on Amazon. Google that shit and get it. A paperback will cost  you under $15, which is really a worthwhile investment in discovering a little piece of cinematic history that will quickly win your heart.

This piece of lost Canadiana deserves all the attention this book gives it and more, and I sincerely hope someone takes on the worthy task of restoring the film and putting it out in some kind of more easily accessible digital format, like DVD or BluRay. I’m gonna say TIFF should get that ball rolling on that task, because when they send out press releases like this one, I gotta ask “where on your ‘To Do’ list is Crime Wave and why haven’t you gotten to it yet?”

Crime Wave Poster

this hand painted (by Paizs) original poster graces the book cover

All I can say about this book, having not read it yet, is that I can’t wait to read it. And that I’m a little bit sorry I didn’t write it first.